St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message

To headmaster, author 'still one of our own'

Published January 29, 2006

  The girl who had a crush on Moses
An author who grew up in St. Petersburg says her fundamentalist education didn't brainwash her. Rather, it sparked a curiosity about science, evolution - and TV.

Keswick headmaster Steven Sinclair had to laugh when he read Christine Rosen's book about his school.

"It's like deja vu for me as I'm reading the thing," said Sinclair, who was a teacher at Keswick Christian School in the early 1970s, right before Rosen started kindergarten. He recognized the school from those days. "The grit, the grime, the air conditioner dripping, the nonpaved entry ways. The teachers. She changes the names, but we know who she's talking about. It's entertaining. It's really pretty accurate."

Sinclair has received e-mails from people who are not all thrilled with Rosen's descriptions, some of which, taken singularly, don't appear to flatter the school. But as a whole, Rosen says her experience was nurturing. That part is in the last chapter.

"There is no animosity," Sinclair said. Rosen is no longer a fundamentalist, so she and the school will disagree on some things, but they can look back and chuckle at the same memories.

"I could add some stories to the ones she had in there."

Chasing armadillos around the campus. The rusty Buck Rogers rocket on the playground . . .

He notes that the school now has a spiffy new playground, two kinds of accreditation and all kinds of technology. And the Buck Rogers rocket is no more.

Sinclair has pulled Rosen's old file, which was kind of cockroach-eaten, and found that she was an enthusiastic, well-liked student. "We helped her that way," he said. "We still call her one of our own."

He plans to attend her book signing with his wife.

And in case you were wondering, no, he says, Keswick doesn't paddle students anymore.

[Last modified January 26, 2006, 13:04:03]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters